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A Global Climate Summit Is Surrounded by All Things Coal

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This story originally appeared on Grist and is part of the Climate Desk collaboration. There’s a specter hanging over the COP24 climate talks, happening this week in the small city of Katowice, Poland. It’s not the goalpost-moving report that the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released two months ago about the need to limit […]

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Crispr’s Epic Patent Fight Changed the Course of Biology

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After three bitter years and tens of millions of dollars in legal fees, the epic battle over who owns one of the most common methods for editing the DNA in any living thing is finally drawing to a close. On Monday, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a decisive ruling on […]

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The Shutdown Shows Just How Vital Government Scientists Are

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Instead of figuring out how many Pacific hake fishermen can catch sustainably, as his job demands, scientist Ian Taylor is at home with his four-month old daughter, biding his time through the partial government shutdown. Taylor’s task is to assess the size and age of hake and other commercially harvested fish species in the productive […]

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NASA's OSIRIS-REx Spacecraft Just Arrived at Asteroid Bennu

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Update 12/3/2018 12:20 pm ET: OSIRIS-REx successfully arrived at the asteroid Bennu. Two years and two months after it launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, NASA's $800-million mission to the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter will reach a pivotal moment Monday, when the agency's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is slated to rendezvous with its scientific […]

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Your Facebook Posts Can Reveal If You're Depressed

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Facebook's 2.2-billion active users use the platform for sharing all kinds of things: Engagements. Group plans. Political misinformation. Cat photos. But as researchers reported this week, the words you post in your status updates could also contain hidden information about your mental health. In research described in this week's issue of the Proceedings of the […]

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A Government Climate Study Contradicts the President

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Shhhh. Someone in the Federal government wants to keep a secret. Someone—though no one is saying who—does not want you to know that the Federal government is panicked about climate change. They should be. A new government report—1,600 pages, two and a half years of work, hundreds of authors, 13 participating agencies—warns that by the […]

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23andMe’s New Diabetes Test Has Experts Asking Who It’s For

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On Sunday, the DNA testing company 23andMe revealed a new genetic analysis that it says will tell its customers if they have an elevated risk of developing the most common, and preventable, form of diabetes. The report—which has not been cleared by the FDA and is not intended to diagnose type 2 diabetes—arrives as the […]

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One Scientist Hopes to Engineer the Climate With Antacid

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To help cure the planet’s ailments, Zhen Dai suggests antacid. In powdered form, calcium carbonate—often used to relieve upset stomachs—can reflect light; by peppering the sky with the shiny white particles, the Harvard researcher thinks it might be possible to block just enough sunlight to achieve some temperature control here on Earth. Dai’s work calls […]

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Astronomers Think They Can Explain Mysterious Cosmic Bursts

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Between this past Christmas and New Year’s Day, Brian Metzger realized he had his home to himself—no emails coming in, no classes to teach—and maybe, just maybe, the glimmer of an answer to one of astronomy’s most stubborn mysteries. He chased hard after the lead, worried a little error could unravel everything or that someone […]

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Darpa Goes Underground for Its Most Daring Robot Extravaganza Yet

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On Thursday, Darpa gathered roboticists in the Louisville Mega Cavern, in Kentucky, and gave them a mission: Design robots to navigate a grueling subterranean course of tunnels and caves, some of the most unforgiving environments on Earth. They’re calling it the Subterranean Challenge, but you may as well call it the Death to All Robots […]